Articles Posted in Domestic Violence

Animal-cruelty-and-connection-to-DV-300x200There’s a technique frequently used in Hollywood during character introductions in movies and TV shows to subtly inform the audience as to whether that character is a “good guy” or a villain: depict how they act around animals. If the character is shown being kind and loving to their pet, we trust and empathize with them; if the character is mean to animals, we know not to trust them. One of the most poignant examples is in the opening scene of the Netflix series House of Cards, during which Frank Underwood rushes to the aid of a dog that has just been struck by a car, and, while talking directly to the camera, calmly chokes the dog to death. (Not pictured, of course.) We immediately know from this scene that we’re looking at an extremely dangerous man.

This storytelling technique works because we instinctively understand that there is a connection between how someone treats animals and how they will treat humans. As it turns out, it’s more than just a feeling. Numerous studies have indeed confirmed a link between cruelty to animals and domestic violence. In one study of women in abusive relationships who had pets, 89 percent of them reported their violent partner harmed or killed their pet, as well. In another, 88 percent of homes where child abuse was being investigated also showed signs of animal abuse. A third study concluded that people who are cruel to animals are five times more likely to harm other humans.

In short, many authorities and domestic violence advocates now confidently state that if someone is abusive toward animals, it’s an indicator that they either have been or will be prone to committing acts of domestic violence. Let’s explore this connection in a bit more detail to see what we can learn.

Biggest-Domestic-Violence-Stories-of-the-2020s-Part-2-300x200The 2020s have been a time of both positive and negative change for domestic violence victims in the United States. On the one hand, we’ve witnessed many cases that raised awareness of DV and other forms of abuse–and on the other, the increased rates of domestic violence during the pandemic revealed how much work is left to be done. We’ve gained a greater understanding of the different forms domestic violence can take–how it’s not just physical contact, but can also include things like criminal threats, harassing phone calls, and more.

We started this discussion by looking at specific reported instances of domestic violence. Now, let’s take a broader view, looking at news items that address changing attitudes and what may be done to curb domestic violence in America.

New Poll Confirms Increased DV During Pandemic–But Increasing Awareness, as Well

Panic-Attack-DV-300x200If an altercation between you and your partner has ended up with you being arrested on suspicion of domestic violence, chances are your emotions are already at a fever pitch. Being charged with domestic violence can take the fear to a whole new level. Within hours, you’re suddenly faced with the possibility of losing your freedom, your family, access to your kids, etc. Your whole world could be hanging in the balance. Add to that the humiliation caused by being cuffed and put into a patrol car in plain sight of your neighbors, and it’s enough to make anyone anxious. 

All this to say, if you begin experiencing signs of panic attacks or severe anxiety in the wake of your domestic violence arrest, you’re not alone. These reactions are quite common, in fact. And yet, resolving a domestic violence charge may still take time, during which you may still have to deal with some of those triggers. So what can you do in the meantime to deal with any symptoms and bring your emotions into check? Let’s discuss some practical solutions. 

What is a Panic Attack, and What Are the Symptoms? 

pexels-energepiccom-313690-300x225Our justice system is built on the principle that a person is “innocent until proven guilty.” Unfortunately, that’s not how it works in the public debate, especially when it comes to social media. While social media’s purpose is to help us stay connected (at least in theory), the downside is that anyone can say anything on social media without fear of retribution. All it takes is one person publicly accusing another, and everyone who trusts the accuser is likely to take up the offense and make their own negative posts. If the person is facing criminal charges, the problem can be even worse. The accused person may find themselves crucified on social media even before the court process begins. It’s unfair, but it’s just how social media works. 

No one understands this new reality better than someone whose partner or spouse has taken to social media to publicly accuse them of domestic violence—especially when there has been an arrest, and criminal charges have been filed. Once the accusation is “out there,” regardless of your guilt or innocence, it can quickly and permanently skewer your reputation. It can affect your other friendships, family relationships, even your job. Even if you’re eventually exonerated, and the charges are dropped, the stigma of the accusation can linger for years to come. What can you do to fix this situation? What steps can you take to repair your reputation? Social media can definitely be a “wild card” when you’re facing domestic violence charges, so let’s discuss some tips for handling social media with grace and dignity during this difficult time. 

Don’t Respond to Accusations Online 

DrugWhen domestic violence happens in the home, it’s seldom caused by just one thing. While we are all accountable for our choices and our actions, there may be many contributing factors that increase the likelihood of DV occurring. Let’s continue our exploration into habits and behaviors (some unexpected) that may help create a scenario where domestic violence is more likely to occur.  

Alcohol Consumption   

Although the use of alcohol is never a sole trigger of abuse, the connection between alcohol abuse and domestic violence is widely documented. In fact, a report by the World Health Organization states that approximately 55 percent of domestic violence perpetrators do so after consuming alcohol. While many people drink alcohol for its calming or relaxing effects, large amounts of alcohol can lead to irritability and aggression. The actual science behind why this happens isn’t always so clear, but there seem to be several ways in which alcohol consumption can make domestic violence more likely: 

science-behind-abuse-2-300x200The more we understand how domestic violence makes its way into people’s lives, the more we can do to stop it from happening. Science, though evolving, has a lot to say about the underlying causes of abuse. Whether this is your first offense, or if you’ve been arrested for domestic violence before—if you have found yourself in legal trouble over domestic violence, understanding the possible triggers for it can help you take steps to break the cycle in your own life and prevent repeat offenses. Let’s continue our discussion of the various factors science says may play a role in the development of abusive behaviors.

Neurochemical Factors Behind Abuse

Neurochemistry is the science behind the chemical processes in our central nervous system–the chemical responses that affect how our brains and nerves respond to stimuli. The idea that domestic violence is linked to neurochemistry is a relatively new field of study, but it has already compiled a strong case. Neurochemistry is being looked at as one of the key pieces to understand why people abuse, and it represents an exciting new direction for intervention possibilities down the road. The link between neurotransmitters and abusive behavior may actually predict an abuser’s likelihood of reoffending—and this information might one day prove valuable in predicting which abusers are more likely to escalate violence and should therefore be monitored closely.

Elder-abuse-domestic-violence-225x300As our society has expanded its understanding of what makes up a family, we see statistically that no family unit is immune to the threat of domestic violence. Whether you’re part of what is historically considered a “traditional” family (i.e., heterosexual married couple/biological parents) or one of many types of “nontraditional” families, it’s still possible for disagreements to get out of hand, emotional triggers to surface…and before you know it, someone is facing domestic violence charges with a restraining order blocking them from the people they love. 

We’ve already begun exploring how domestic violence may affect certain nontraditional families, but let’s continue looking at this topic below.  

Cohabitating Families 

Los-Angeles-domestic-violence-attorney-300x200Given both the increase and the heightened awareness of domestic violence cases since the 2020s began, it’s important once in a while to look at the news stories talking about domestic violence to see both what we can learn and how we can improve the situation for families at risk. We’re reviewing news stories both about general trends and specific instances of domestic violence to see what takeaways we find. Let’s continue that process now.

Brooklyn Woman Executes Her Former Girlfriend After Long, Volatile Relationship

In April of this year, the New York Post reports that a Brooklyn woman turned herself in to police, confessing that she had shot and killed her former girlfriend execution-style after a volatile 20-year relationship. According to prosecutors, police had responded to a total of 14 domestic violence calls over the past two decades, 10 of which had indicated the shooter as the “aggressor.” The shooter’s sister claimed that her sister was mentally disabled and had tried to distance herself from the victim but that the victim “kept coming back.” She said her sister had pulled the trigger because “enough was enough.”

immigration-and-domestic-violence-200x300A domestic violence arrest can disrupt your life and your family on many levels on its own. But when you are an immigrant to the United States, and you’re facing domestic violence charges, things can get even more complicated very quickly. Depending on the circumstances and how severe the charge is, a domestic violence conviction can jeopardize your immigration status even if you’ve already obtained your Green Card. You could be disqualified from eventual citizenship and possibly even deported. Let’s take a closer look at this issue and talk about how domestic violence charges could affect you from an immigration standpoint and what (if anything) can be done to minimize the impact.

Immigration Laws and Criminal Convictions

Under United States law, an immigrant can lose their legal status if they are convicted for certain types of crimes, particularly for aggravated felonies and/or crimes involving moral turpitude. Domestic violence charges frequently fall into one or both of these categories, and that’s why a domestic violence conviction could threaten your legal status as an immigrant. From an immigration standpoint, any domestic violence charge that results in a prison sentence of one year or more classifies as an aggravated felony. Examples of DV crimes involving moral turpitude may include, but are not limited to:

domestic-violence-accuser-and-accused-300x200Being arrested on suspicion of domestic violence can be highly disruptive to your life—and of course, being the victim of domestic violence is nothing short of traumatic. But what happens when you are both a victim of domestic violence and the person accused of it—at the same time? What if the alleged victim and the defendant are one and the same person—and that person is you?

It doesn’t happen that often—but it does happen. When domestic violence occurs, we typically assume there is one perpetrator and one victim. One person gets hurt, the other one gets arrested and charged. In the majority of DV cases, this assumption holds true—but on occasion, someone who has been attacked in a domestic violence dispute may actually be arrested and possibly charged as a perpetrator. Let’s talk about the complexities of these types of cases, the circumstances in which they may occur, and what you can do about it if you find yourself in this undesirable situation.

How Can Domestic Violence Victims Also Be Charged?

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